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欧洲经济还没有走出危险区 不容乐观

2014-05-22    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

For the past year, we've been hearing that global growth, and the world's equity markets, will get a major lift from a gradual recovery in Europe.
过去一年,我们总是听到,全球经济增长和股票市场将受到欧洲逐渐复苏的大力推动。

Indeed, Ireland and Portugal recently returned to the debt markets with well-received offerings, and the Greek government claims it will soon be in a position to issue bonds. Yields on sovereign debt remain remarkably low and stable. It's indisputable that a mood of tranquility has returned to the eurozone.
确实,近期爱尔兰和葡萄牙重返债券市场,市场接受度良好,希腊政府也宣称很快将发行债券。主权债券的收益率保持相当低的水平,走势稳定。毋庸置疑的是,欧元区已经重现平静。

But tranquility is not the same thing as progress, as the GDP figures released on May 15 by the Statistical Office of The European Union (Eurostat) alarmingly demonstrate. The 18-nation eurozone expanded by just 0.2% in the first quarter of 2014, half the figure economists were projecting.
但平静不等同于增长,欧盟统计处(the Statistical Office of The European Union)5月15日发布的GDP数据令人惊醒。2014年第一季度,由18个成员国组成的欧元区经济体仅增长了0.2%,只有经济学家预测值的一半。

Germany, as usual, was the leader, posting a gain of 0.8%. The problem spots are precisely the places where the comeback is supposedly underway: the beleaguered nations of Europe's southern tier, as well as that tamed tiger, Ireland.
和以往一样,德国一马当先,增长了0.8%。问题正是出在那些所谓正走在复苏路上的国家:曾经危机四伏的欧洲南部国家以及失去了如虹气势的爱尔兰。

The latest figures confirm that most of these countries aren't improving at all. Italy's economy shrank by 0.1% in the first three months of 2014, matching the average of the three previous quarters. After expanding 0.6% in Q2 2013, France recorded zero growth. Portugal shrank 0.7%, following positive numbers in the preceding nine months. While figures weren't available for Greece and Ireland in Q1, neither country is showing progress. Greek GDP dropped 2.5% in the final three months of last year, and Ireland limped ahead at 0.2%.
最新数据印证,这些国家的经济大多数根本就没有改善。2014年前三个月,意大利经济收缩了0.1%,与前三个季度的平均值持平。2013年第二季度曾经增长0.6%的法国经济出现了零增长。连续9个月保持正增长的葡萄牙经济收缩了0.7%。希腊和爱尔兰虽然没有第一季度的数据,但这两个国家哪个也没有显露出改善的迹象。去年第四季度希腊GDP下降了2.5%,而爱尔兰微增了0.2%。

The lone nation demonstrating a sustained upward trend, however modest, is Spain. It grew at 0.4% in the first quarter of 2014 after pretty much flat lining for the last nine months of 2013.
唯一一个呈现经济持续增长(尽管增幅温和)的国家是西班牙。2013年后9个月基本持平后,西班牙2014年第一季度增长了0.4%。

Harald Uhlig, a German-born and educated economist at the University of Chicago, provides a balanced view of the current risks to the eurozone. For Uhlig, it's crucial to understand the divergent courses taken by Germany and the southern nations since the euro's introduction in 1999, and how those policies have led to the disparate economic outcomes in these nations today. "Inflation had always been a big problem in southern Europe," he says. "Rates were high, and they also carried a big 'risk premium' because you couldn't be sure that the separate central banks wouldn't do something crazy, causing more inflation."
在德国出生并接受教育的芝加哥大学(University of Chicago)经济学家哈拉尔德o乌利希针对当前的欧元区风险给出了较为平衡的观点。乌利希认为,很重要的一点是要理解自1999年引入欧元以来德国和南欧国家选择的不同道路,以及这些政策为什么导致了这些国家今天不同的经济境遇。“通胀曾经一直是南欧的一个大问题,”他说。“利率高,并带有高风险溢价,因为你不知道各个央行会不会做出些疯狂的举动,继续推高通胀。”

The institution of a single currency in Europe led to the creation of a Bundesbank-like European Central Bank that then and now sets monetary policy in a rigorous, predictable fashion. "Rates dropped, and government and consumer spending exploded, driving high growth rates," says Uhlig. What's often overlooked, he notes, is that Germany didn't join the party. "Germany was the 'sick man' of Europe. It suffered when the euro was introduced, in contrast to the southern countries." Germany posted miserable GDP numbers in the early 2000s, while Ireland, Greece, and Spain all roared ahead.
欧洲单一货币制度导致类似于德意志联邦银行(Bundesbank)的欧洲央行成立,欧洲央行以严密、可预见的方式设定货币政策。“然后,利率降低,政府和消费者支出猛增,推动高增长,”乌利希表示。他指出,人们这时往往忽略了一点,那就是,德国没有加入进来。“当时的德国是欧洲的病人。不同于南欧国家,欧元的引入对它是一个冲击。”21世纪第一个十年初期,德国公布的GDP数据非常糟糕,而当时爱尔兰、希腊和西班牙都在高歌猛进。

Then, Germany made a turn that, in retrospect, seems astounding. Chancellor Gerhard Schroder (who served from 1998 to 2005) championed reforms designed to create a far more flexible labor market. "His model was the U.S.," says Uhlig. "Before that, I kept hearing from leaders in Germany who didn't want to reform, [saying] what you hear now in southern Europe: 'If we only have more growth in the next five years, we'll get rid of the unemployment problem.' But growth never came."
然后,德国开始转变,现在来看这个转变非常关键。德国总理格哈特o施罗德(任期1998-2005年)力主改革,希望大大提升劳动力市场的灵活性。“他的榜样是美国,”乌利希说。“在那之前,我在德国不断听到那些不愿改革的领导人们(说着)你们现在在南欧听到的话:只要未来5年我们有更多增长,我们就会消除失业问题。但增长一直没有出现。”

Schroder decisively lowered pension costs and unemployment compensation, and he gave companies more flexibility with hiring and layoffs. Schroder paid a heavy price for securing the most dramatic labor market reforms in modern European history. "He should have been rewarded, but he was brutally punished," says Uhlig.
施罗德决定降低养老金和失业金,给予公司更多的招聘裁员灵活权。为了实施这场欧洲当代史上最为大刀阔斧的劳动力市场改革,施罗德付出了沉重代价。“他本应获得嘉许,却受到了狠狠地惩罚,”乌利希表示。

Schroder lost the chancellorship to Angela Merkel in 2005. The fruits of his reforms didn't surface until around 2006, when the German economy emerged as the strongest player in Europe, as demonstrated by its resurgence from the financial crisis.
2005年,施罗德失去了总理的职位,让位于安格拉o默克尔。他的改革成效直到2006年才浮现,德国经济一跃成为欧洲最强,迅速走出了金融危机。

Big spending inflated wages in southern Europe, and productivity gains couldn't keep up, meaning labor costs in Spain and France for each unit of autos or steel produced grew at a faster rate than in Germany or the U.S. The crash exposed the competitiveness gap in southern Europe and Ireland. Global customers bought less and less of pricey exports from southern Europe.
依赖高额支出的南欧工资以及生产率增长无法持续,西班牙和法国的单位汽车或钢铁成本增速快于德国或美国,暴露了南欧和爱尔兰的竞争力差距。国际客户日益减少从南欧进口的高价商品。

So, what can these nations do now? "It can be solved in one of two ways," says Uhlig. "One is exiting the euro so that costs decline in the new currency compared to costs in other nations. The other is a combination of productivity gains and labor cost reductions. That would be the far better course."
那么,现在这些国家能做些什么?“解决方法有两个,”乌利希说。“一是退出欧元,这样新货币成本将相比其他国家下降。二是提高生产力,降低劳动力成本。这是一条更好的出路。”
The issue, he says, is that the troubled nations have done little to unshackle labor markets along the lines of Schroder's reforms of a decade ago.
他说,问题是,那些危机国家没有怎么行动起来,按十年前施罗德的改革路线来解放劳动力市场。

Uhlig is especially concerned about the deterioration in France. "Europe used to have two great stabilizers, France and Germany. Now it has one. In France, the retirement age is too low, and companies are often run by former government figures and are too politically connected, so that it's difficult for entrepreneurs to challenge entrenched companies." He worries that the future of the eurozone is increasingly "on the shoulders of just one stabilizer, Germany."
乌利希特别关注的是法国经济的恶化。“欧洲过去有两大稳定器——法国和德国。现在只剩一个。在法国,退休太早,公司管理者往往是前政府官员,政商联系密切,因此创业者很难挑战既有竞争者。”他担心欧元区的未来越来越“落到德国这唯一一个稳定器的肩上。”
The severe recession and high jobless rates have not done nearly enough to lower labor costs. "I keep hearing from colleagues that labor costs have come way down in Spain," he says. "But they're still too high. The southern countries haven't solved the problem of letting wage costs run far ahead of gains in productivity."
严重的经济衰退和高失业率尚不足以降低劳动力成本。“我不断听同事们说西班牙的劳动力成本已显著下降,”他说。“但还是太高。南欧国家依然没有解决劳动力成本增长快于生产率增长的问题。”

Uhlig also notes that Europe's period of economic calm hasn't been put to good use. "It hasn't been used for the types of reforms that are needed," says Uhlig. "The attitude is, the euro-crisis is over, yields are still fairly low, and we don't have to do anything."
乌利希还指出,欧洲经济的平稳期没有得到好好的利用。“没有用来实施所需的改革,”乌利希说。“人们的态度是,欧元危机已经结束,收益率仍相当低,我们不需要做什么。”

Uhlig is particularly concerned with potential triggers that might undermine confidence in the credit markets. "If Greece defaults, it could set off a contagion that would raise rates for the other nations, causing more defaults and a possible exit from the euro." Uhlig would much prefer that the euro stay in place, and the problem be addressed by the Schroder method. Unfortunately, he says, the Schroder experience haunts Europe's current leaders. "They fear they'll end up like Schroder and the Social Democrats," he says.
乌利希特别担心一些突发事件可能损伤信贷市场的信心。“如果希腊违约,影响可能蔓延,导致其他国家利率上升,产生更多违约,甚至可能退出欧元。”乌利希希望欧元能得以保留,按施罗德的方法解决问题。不幸的是,他说,施罗德的遭遇让欧洲现任领导人们望而却步。他说:“他们害怕他们最终会落得和施罗德以及社会民主党一样的下场。”

Southern Europe may have missed its chance. The best time to reform was when times were flush in the mid-2000s. It's far more difficult to undo regulations and restrictions imposed over decades when economies are stalled and budgets are stretched to the limit, making a fiscal spending jolt highly risky.
南欧可能已经错失机会。改革的最好时机是21世纪第一个十年的中期左右,当时时间充裕。更困难的是取消几十年来在经济停滞、预算捉襟见肘时实施的种种法规和限制,削减财政支付风险重重。

Europe's leaders keep careening from one "solution" to another, fixating on the German elections, then on asset quality reviews for banks, then on huge monetary stimulus programs to prevent potential deflation. They're missing what really needs to be done. If Europe doesn't make some tough decisions, the market will make choices for them. That would deliver a giant, cracking sound heard round the world.
欧洲领导人们不断地从一个“解决方案”向另一个解决方案摇摆,瞄瞄德国大选,瞅瞅银行资产质量考核,再看看旨在阻止通货紧缩的巨额货币刺激方案。他们忽略了真正该做的事情。如果欧洲不做出一些艰难的决定,市场将代他们做出选择。届时必将传出一声巨大的爆裂声,响彻全球。



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